I have never read Jane Eyre until this year. I knew the basic story line, but I could never get past the first few chapters. Luckily, I have matured or appreciate it better, or the timing was just right this time. I read it recently, and I loved it!
Jane Eyre follows the coming of age story of a young orphan girl of the same name. Jane lives a lonely and difficult life as she grows up first with her cousins then in a strict boarding school. When Jane decides to take a job as a governess at Thornfield Hall, her life change forever. There she meets the brooding Mr Rochester whose love and devotion has a carefully guarded secret. Can Jane find happiness at Thornfield or must she leave the one man she has ever truly loved?
I loved Jane the narrator. The language was exquisite but also accessible. The descriptions beautiful but concise. The story riveting and endearing. The flashbacks were a neat aspect to the story and I appreciated the simple and engaging way the story was told.
I loved Jane and Mr Rochester’s love. Yes, I understand he is way older than her. And he lied about his crazy lunatic wife. But when she returns to him at the end–oh my heart melts! Its beautiful to see a love that can blossom and grow amidst adversity and challenges. And I was just so happy he wasn’t mad at her for leaving him for a year. He was just overjoyed to have her back. Also, they just fit together. I loved that they were “meant to be” Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic.
I loved the story. The action was enough to keep me turning the pages and going onto the next chapter. But it wasn’t plot driven. The pace felt natural and positive. I felt like I was there with Jane along the paths of her life–eagerly traveling to Lowood School, anxiously moving to Thornfield Hall, desperately fleeing that same home after her almost wedding day, hoping against hope for relief from her starvation, discovering herself in Morton and finding family in the Rivers, suddenly finding the right moment to return to Mr Rochester. I just knew she would go back to Mr Rochester in the end. And that reunion did not disappoint.
I loved the characters. I found Jane to be a well written, complex, and engaging heroine. I appreciated her intellect, passion, and resolve to follow her heart. Mr Rochester intrigued me with his complex history, stony outer personality, and deep, unbending love for Jane. I loved little Adele and her sweet love for learning and belonging. I loved Diana and Mary Rivers–both for their kindness and their roles as sisters to Jane. I even found St John Rivers fascinating. Oh, he drives me crazy a bit with his religious fanaticism and loveless proposals, but his character is complex and rich. I must admit, I’m glad Jane did not marry him. But I kind of wish he would have married Rosamund Oliver.
It made me think. And I felt proud and happy when I finished it. A great read.
And this checks off my second book on my list for The Classics Club. Yay!